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Valentine's Day and courtly love? Think again Chaucer, hello Zuckerberg

9th February 2012

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So, here we are again folks - that wonderful time of year leading to Valentine’s Day.  Instantly, images of heart shaped boxes filled with chocolate and random flashes of pink and red flutter into my mind. However, it has to be said, I am nearly twenty and I have yet to see (or receive) a heart-shaped box of any sort. Yet I am woefully aware of the amount of soppy wall posts I will see on the day, people announcing their undying love (and managing to get 7 or 8 ‘likes’) and return comments with way too many kisses on the end of it.

Valentines heartAccording to Wikipedia, "the day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.” How sweet, and perhaps, how vintage?

‘Vintage’ gets thrown around a lot nowadays, but do we still live in an age of brazen Romeos and starry-eyed Juliet’s?  I think not, partly down to the life-force that is social media. I myself have sold my soul to Mark Zuckerberg and I post away my thoughts every now and again, knowing sadly that my connection with the real world dwindles. What was once a magical moment of excited neurones has been tragically watered down to mere ones and zeros.

0101010111110000111110001010000101011101000 - Maybe I just declared my love for someone?

It all comes down to how we communicate our feelings for each other, how we meet each other and how the roots of the most basic relationships (friendships, or more) take hold of the earth around them. In this online universe, we expose ourselves, and that is fine and dandy for getting people to know you. However, we see only what you want us to see. The 'remove tag' button is a particular favourite of mine.

Back in the day, people met (in real life). They chatted, maybe over a drink in a pub, and things developed from there. There was one phone in their world. Usually downstairs and the whole family used it. No instant anything. If you wanted to send a message - a letter or telegram would perhaps have sufficed, albeit arriving later than one would've liked. Now, in 2012?

1. See a person. For about five minutes

2. Add on Facebook/Twitter.

3. Look through every one of their photos and read all of their posts until you get bored.

4. If you fancy the socks off them, build up the courage to start a conversation with them. Finally talk.

5. If it goes well, congratulations. You have made it into the Twilight Zone. If you feel some sort of Facebook chemistry, be prepared to get addicted to the prospect of "so-and-so" being on-line.

6. You have talked for what seems hours, and lo-and-behold it has been. It's 3.27 am and teleshopping has been on for a while.

7. Beware. This can go on for a while. This is where, for me, the problems with social networking escalate. You have become accustomed with their creativity, their use of words, their hilarious links, the witty comebacks and the sly, sweet comments. However you also begin to get peeved when it takes them more than four minutes to reply or they post something on someone else's wall. He/she added someone? OMFG they're prettier than you!

8. You want to meet them again. The likelihood is, it may never happen. There aren't many reasons for this, apart from the main one, people are different in person. You have forgotten that conversation is the most instant thing that can happen. That is why people survived for so long without IM pre-2000.

Conversation and getting to know another person (in person) is too instant and perhaps too scary for the next generation. You're blind to who that person really is because you have spent no time with them in the real world. A world without ones and zeros.

With e-cards and what-not it is wholly possible to have an on-line Valentine's Day. So, maybe this year try to court that girl or lad by a simple “hello how are you” without pressing ‘log into facebook.’

In 2012 I am aware, that people are not going to go cold turkey be it Valentine’s Day or not. So Skype your lover, write some sickly lovey-dovey slosh on their wall that will have onlookers jealous (or disgusted). For me? I want the physical. Hold my hand, write me a letter and send me flowers.

Log out of Facebook and let go of meaningless 00001011110000101011000101111100010101's

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